Posts Tagged ‘Amitabh Bachchan’

Where was Priyanka Chopra going with Bob?*

29 August 2013

There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip in the era of fast-breaking news and even well-equipped organisations like CNN and BBC are not immune from howlers in the “supers”.

On Tuesday, when the Congress president Sonia Gandhi was rushed to hospital, look who was momentarily accompanying her son-in-law Robert Vadra to look her up, in the eyes of Times Now.

* Shameless search engine optimisation techniques at work

Photograph: courtesy Berges, via IQ.

Also read: When AB baby’s cold became hot news

The tenth life of a cat is on the ratings’ chart

The 5 stereotypes of journalists in Bollywood

16 August 2013
Jaane-Bhi-Do-Yaaro

In the 1983 hit comedy, Jaane bhi do yaaro, Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Vaswani work as freelance photographers for Khabardar, a muckraking magazine edited by “Shobha Sen”, played by Bhakti Barve Inamdar

Much as the role of the hero and the heroine has morphed in the Hindi film industry, so has the depiction of the villain and the vamp—and, of course, the journalist.

From a pure print person till well into the late 1980s, the journalist on film is now largely a TV person.

From a poorly paid, poorly dressed, paan-chewing jholawala working for a “cause”, we are now (largely) shown as slick, loud-mouthed, loose-tongued buffoons, in bed with the crooked and the corrupt, and not very different from them.

Two young London-based Indian journalists, Ruhi Khan (formerly of Hindustan Times, Mumbai Mirror & NDTV) and her husband Danish Khan (formerly of Mid-Day and Mumbai Mirror), have analysed 33 films over the last 30 years and written a paper for the journal “The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culturepublished by the University of Southern California at Annenberg.

“Our analysis revealed five popular representations of the journalist that we have classified as romantic companion, glamour chaser, investigative superhero, power magnate, and brainless mouthpiece.

“These categories, though distinct, can also find themselves sharing screen space and often overlapping in the same film’s narrative.

“These stereotypes have been so strongly entrenched in Bollywood scripts that even films inspired by reallife incidences fail to break free of them.”

Here, the Khans introduce their work.

***

By RUHI KHAN and DANISH KHAN

Working as journalists in India’s tinsel town Mumbai-home to Bollywood cinema, one often comes across various public prejudices against the reporter. From being revered and trusted to help foster change for the better, to being accused of trivialising the profession or manipulating news for profits.

The IJPC article stemmed for our desire to find out how such public perceptions are influenced. In this article we analyse only one element – perhaps one of the greatest factors that can affect mass perceptions—Bollywood films.

Most commercial films are not a prism reflecting reality, but a figment of someone’s imagination and desire to see the world as he or she would like to. Hindi film is devoid of much reality and is often an exaggeration, yet it defines its audience’s aspirations and perceptions.

And this is what the article reflects—the caricature images of journalists portrayed by Bollywood, from their most Romeo-like romantic image to their most macho Rambo superhero.

We analysed 33 films over a 30-year period from 1981 to 2011, ranging from “Mr. India” to “Rockstar,” where the role of the journalist or media has been important in the film’s narrative script or has been entrenched in public memory for its journalistic aspects.

Our analysis revealed five popular representations of journalists. We found many Bollywood films depicting journalists as a Romantic Companion to the other lead protagonist. This is where the focus is on the scribe’s singing, dancing or seducing skills rather than his reporting.

A more realistic category is the Glamour Chaser where reporters are portrayed as flies fluttering around a ‘celebrity’ candy. Need we say more on this, doesn’t seem much difference in real and reel life journalists in this category?

In the Investigative Superhero category the journalist makes powerful enemies in the course of his or her investigative work, just like a superhero who takes on the bad guys. This category showed us two opposite depictions of journalists. While the first half of the period in which our analysis takes place showed investigative reporters often paying a heavy price for their work- often being martyrs in the process; in the latter part the journalist began leveraging his or her profession to safeguard himself or herself by garnering the power of the fourth estate and mobilizing public support and scrutiny.

Next, category Power Magnate shows the media as ‘kingmakers’ holding the power to sway decisions on prominent issues. Prominent senior journalists are ‘sense-makers’ where in they have the power to influence how the public should interpret complex issues.

The last category is the one most journalists in real life are very uncomfortable to even acknowledge but the reel gives plenty of examples to entrench it strongly in public memory—the Brainless Mouthpiece speaks of the most prevalent public perception where journalists are shown as brainless twits who simply follow instructions, bytes, or gossip without questioning anything.

***

Read the full paper: From Romeo to Rambo

***

Raveen Tandon as Shobha De: Glamourous, sexy, brainy, seductive

Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour: Kareena Kapoor

Emran Hashmi to play Rajdeep Sardesai, Arnab Goswami

Journalism film Dev Anand didn’t make featuring Shekhar Gupta

Ram Gopal Verma‘s hit and Rann: ‘I want to expose media’

Will the underworld a hot reporter like Gul Panag?

Anju Mahendroo plays queen bee of film journalism, Devyani

For Sashi Kumar, Ranganath Bharadwaj, acting is second nature

Finally, Karnataka gets an acting chief minister: Ravi Belagere

2,450 journos lost jobs in Chitty Chitty Bong Bong

27 April 2013

Mail Today, the tabloid daily owned by the India Today group, reports that an astonishing 2,450 journalists (including non-editorial staff) may have lost their jobs after the meltdown of Bengal’s chitfund driven, politically backed newspapers and TV stations.

Employees of Saradha group owned 24-hour TV news station, Channel 10, are reported to have filed a complaint against the Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member andSaradha group media cell CEO Kunal Ghosh and the chairman Sudipta Sen for not paying salaries and depositing contributions to the provident fund.

***

In the Indian Express, editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta writes:

“But why are we complaining? Why are we being so protective of what only we see as our turf? There is nothing in the law to stop anybody from owning media. And sure enough, the biggest business houses in India have tried their hand with the media and retreated with burnt fingers and singed balance sheets.

“The Ambanis (Observer Group), Vijaypat Singhania (The Indian Post), L.M. Thapar (The Pioneer), Sanjay Dalmia (Sunday Mail), Lalit Suri (Delhi Midday), are like a rollcall of the captains of Indian industry who failed in the media business.

“They failed, you’d say, because they did not, deep down, respect the media, or journalists. Many of them saw themselves as victims of poorly paid, dimwit journalists employed by people who called themselves media barons but were barons of what was a boutique business compared to theirs.

“But there is a difference between then and now, and between them and the state-level businessmen investing in the media now. They failed because they did not respect journalism. The current lot are setting up or buying up media mainly because they do not respect journalism, because they think all journalists are available, if not for sale then for hire, as lawfully paid employees.

“If you have a couple of news channels and newspapers, a few well known (and well connected) journalists as your employees, give them a fat pay cheque, a Merc, and they solve your problem of access and power. They also get you respect, as you get to speak to, and rub shoulders with top politicians, even intellectuals, at awards and events organised by your media group.

“It is the cheapest ticket to clout, protection and a competitive edge.

“A bit like, to steal the immortal line Shashi Kapoor spoke to his wayward “brother” Amitabh Bachchan in Yash Chopra‘s Deewar (mere paas maa hai), tere paas police, SEBI, RBI, CBI, kuchch bhi ho, mere paas media hai.

“Remember how Gopal Kanda defied Delhi Police to arrest him rather than have him present himself grandly for surrender? The police put up scores of checkpoints to look for him, but he arrived in style, riding an OB van of STV, a channel known to be “close” to him. Which cop would dare to look inside an OB van?”

Infographic: courtesy Mail Today

Also read: How Bengal’s chit fund crooks exposed the media

A newspaper ad without SRK, MSD or AB

4 March 2013

lok satta ad

Brand ambassadors for media companies usually tend to be celebrities—a Shah Rukh Khan for Zee, a Mahinder Singh Dhoni for NDTV, an Amitabh Bachchan for The Times of India, etc—or faces of newsmakers.

In other words, usually upper class or upper caste.

Loksatta, the Marathi daily from the Indian Express group, bucks the trend with a print advertisement featuring the Dalit businessman Milind Kamble, with the punchline: “the preferred choice for every discerning Maharashtrian”.

Also read: Anybody here who’s Dalit and speaks English?

An Angry Young Man gets good media @ 70

11 October 2012

Amitabh Bachchan, the BBC’s “star of the millennium”, peers through a front-page of the Europe edition of The Wall Street Journal, in photographer Daboo Ratnani‘s calendar for October 2012.

Libran Mr Bachchan, who has had a stormy relationship with the Indian media, turns 70 today.

Also read: Amitabh Bachchan versus the Mumbai Mirror

Look, who wants to be a journo (after rebirth)

Sting camera that Amitabh Bachchan didn’t see

Jug Suraiya takes on the mighty Big Bachchan

When Prabhu Chawla called up Amar Singh

When Prabhu Chawla called up Amar Singh…

12 May 2011

The Supreme Court has lifted a five-year ban on the airing of the infamous Amar Singh CD which, along with the Niira Radia tapes, must be made required listening in journalism schools for the unvarnished view it offers of how politicians, industrialists, bureaucrats, film stars, celebrities, middlemen and journalists operate.

Among the two-dozen conversations  on the Amar Singh CD—fondly referred to in media circles as “Amar Singh ki amar kahaniyan“—is one involving Prabhu Chawla, the former editor of India Today and currently the editorial director of The New Indian Express.

The conversation is centred on a press conference Amar Singh is threatening to call to tell the world about how an Aaj Tak reporter (Prachi Jawadekar Wagh, now with NDTV) sneaked into a hospital ward in Bombay, where the film star Amitabh Bachchan was recuperating and allegedly invaded his privacy. Chawla’s call to the then Samajawadi Party leader is aimed at stalling the press meet.

For the record, Chawla also figures in the Niira Radia tapes, and Chawla himself has put up the transcript of his conversation with the lobbyist on his website to set the record straight.

Also read: ‘TV is dishing out cheap opinion’

‘Bollywood journalism is about PR & pimping’

19 February 2011

Nandita Puri, journalist and wife of actor Om Puri, in an interview in Tehelka magazine:

Q: What are the biggest problems in Bollywood journalism today?

A: Bollywood journalism is about PR and pimping. Of course, stars have glamours personal lives everyone wants to know about, but now that has become the core of film reportage. Occasionally, you hear about an actor doing a good job. There is a very sleazy side to it. They raise a person to the sky and when the PR companies are off the payroll, they hit back. The media is on a high now but eventually it will get exhausted.

Also read: Khalid Mohamed on ToI, DNA, HT and the stars

It takes 3 Idiots to call the bluff of pauper tigers

Jug Suraiya takes on Amitabh Bachchan

Singer accuses reviewer of sexual assault

Anybody here who’s Dalit and speaks English?*

13 May 2010

The UPA government’s reported inclination to include an extra column in the 2011 census to enumerate caste, for the first time since 1931, has seen politicians and political parties close ranks, although the Union cabinet is said to have been divided on the issue.

But there has been an avalanche of criticism in the media. “A monumental travesty,” is one view in The Indian Express. “No sense in caste census,” declares the Financial Express. “Will it help reduce inequalities,” asks The Hindu. “No time to look behind,” is one view in The Telegraph.

On television, of course, it is as if the end is nigh upon us already, and they even quote the mighty Amitabh Bachchanthe son-in-law of a journalist—to bolster their view.

A similar dichotomy between the political class and the fourth estate greeted the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in 1989. And indeed when 27% reservation was announced for other backward classes in higher educational institutions in the first innings of the UPA government.

Could the media “disconnect” be because of the demographics of dominant sections of the Indian media, most of which are located in urban centres? Are there too many upper-caste, upper-class types and far too few of the other kind to understand and empathise with the logic, the dynamics, the imperative for a caste census or reservations?

In her Hindustan Times column, CNN-IBN senior editor Sagarika Ghose writes:

“In 1996 when B.N. Uniyal undertook a survey of national newspapers, he found that among 686 journalists accredited to the government, 454 were upper caste, the remaining 232 did not carry their caste names and in a random sample of 47, not a single one was a dalit.”

More recently, a 2006 survey of 300 senior journalists in 37 Hindi and English newspapers and TV stations found that “Hindu upper caste men”—who form eight per cent of the country’s population—hold 71 per cent of the top jobs in the national media.

“Dalits and Adivasis “are conspicuous by their absence among the decision- makers. Not even one of the 315 key decision-makers belonged to the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.

“If men and women are taken together, the share of upper caste Hindus or dwijas in the upper echelons of the media is 85 per cent. These castes account for 16 per cent of the national population. Brahmins alone, the survey found, hold 49 per cent of the top jobs in national journalism.

“If non-dwija forward castes like Marathas, Patels, Jats and Reddys are added, the total forward caste share stands at 88 per cent.

“In contrast, OBCs, who are estimated to constitute around 40 per cent of the population, account for an “abysmally low” four per cent of top media jobs. In the English print media, OBCs account for just one per cent of top jobs and in the Hindi print media eight per cent.”

Read the full column: Caste off those blinkers

Photograph: the front page of Harijan, the weekly English newspaper published by Mahatma Gandhi

Also read: Why are they Tamils? Why are they all Brahmins?

Just 4% of population but 7 Brahmins in Indian team?

* with apologies to Edward Behr

Amitabh Bachchan versus the Mumbai Mirror

20 February 2010

Amitabh Bachchan, who only eight months ago confessed he wanted to be a journalist in his next life, continues to have problems with those practising the craft in their current life.

Four months ago, the BBC’s star of the millennium” was in a tug-of-war with Abhijit Mazumder of MiD-DaY. Earlier this week, he had problems with Kaveree Bamzai of India Today.

Today Bachchan, who played the conscientious media baron Vijay Harshvardhan Malik in Rann two weeks ago, is sparring with The Times of India group and Meenal Baghel of Mumbai Mirror.

The tabloid from the Bennett, Coleman stable, issued free with The Times of India in Bombay, ran a story attributed to “Mumbai Mirror Bureau” on his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai allegedly having problems in conceiving due to stomach tuberculosis.

“It’s no secret that Aishwarya is 37, and she isn’t getting any younger. But it now comes to light that the reason for her inability to bear a child at the moment is because she has been suffering from stomach tuberculosis for a while.

“Says a source, ‘The medication Aishwarya is taking for her stomach ailment is hampering her from getting pregnant. Until the tuberculosis is fully cured, she is unlikely to risk a pregnancy’,” reads the operative portion from the story.

Aishwarya Rai denied the story on the day it appeared, calling it false and fabricated, which the paper carried in full.

Now, Bachchan, who, according to Mumbai Mirror, is said to have described the ailment as rich man’s TB on his blog, has blogged back against the “soiled and unworthy piece of garbage” in post number 669, demanding an apology and a retraction for the “debased journalism”.

“The unprofessional and slanderous nature of this article in such an esteemed and respected newspaper as the Mumbai Mirror is deeply disturbing. It brings the author of this article into disrepute. It brings the editor that published this article into disrepute. It brings this particular newspaper into disrepute.

“Due to the illicit nature of this slander, I request a retraction and full apology. The full apology comprises the names of the individual journalist and chief editor, the journalist’s and editor’s unqualified retraction and refutation of the contents of thearticle, the apology should be addressed to both Aishwarya Rai Bachchan first and specifically, and also to the Bachchan family in general.

“The apology is to be printed on the first page of the entertainment section of the Mumbai Mirror on the same page, in the same size print, and including the signatures of the aforementioned journalist and editor and an immediate donation of a sum of (amount to be decided by members of my extended family of the blog) to a national charitable foundation of your choosing that supports those who suffer fromtuberculosis and an article in your newspaper highlighting its work.”

Newspaper screenshot: courtesy Mumbai Mirror

Also read: ‘FIR is not a license to titillate or sensationalise’

Pradyuman Maheshwari: Will someone ask Amitabh Bachchan to keep a check on what he blogs?

Hit and Rann: ‘I want to expose the media’

15 January 2010

A television promo for the next Amitabh Bachchan starrer Rann, a movie “about the highly competitive world of television news reporting in India“.

Directed by the maverick Ram Gopal Varma, Rann is reportedly an insider’s account of how TRP-thirsty news channels manipulate and sensationalise stories.

“I am going to expose the media in this film and that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Varma says. “A lot of times democracy is controlled by forces that are not always visible to us.”

Bachchan plays a media Vijay Harsh Vardhan who is forced to compromise on his principles for the sake of ratings. Rann hits the screens later this month.

Also read: Look, who wants to be a journo (after rebirth)

Sting camera that Amitabh Bachchan didn’t see

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